Sam & Kyle's Red-Hot Firehouse Chicago wedding

When describing Sam and Kyle's wedding, so many words come to mind: unique, quirky, rock and roll, bohemian, sophisticated, fun, romantic, chic and personal (just to name a few).  Their wedding truly encompassed all those elements because they really personalized it from start to finish.  Everything had meaning and that made it so special.  

We love Sam's response to "describe your wedding style in 3 words" (since we could not pick just 3 either!)  

Badass, Hippie, Gwen (Stefani!) Sorry, that’s 4 words.
— Sam

Here is one more word for our bride; even though it was a freezing cold winter day in March, Sam was Red-Hot!

Sam got ready at the Hotel Lincoln with her maid of honor, sister Kala Anderson, and four of her best girlfriends who came to help celebrate.  

They drank "champs, beer and gatorade :)"  The vibe while getting ready was very chill with lots of laughter and Sam's eclectic playlist making it feel like a party from the start.

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"Diana Monteleone from Kelly Cardenas Salon did my hair, she is literally the best in the biz and has been doing my hair for years. She's taken it from brown to blonde to red to blue to purple to fuchsia to red!"

"My makeup was done by Hana Mui from the Saks Fifth Avenue Club, she was recommended by my friend...she made me look super hot!"


The Winnie Dress!

We were so excited to hear and see what Sam would be wearing since we are both huge Project Runway fans.  When we met with her and Kyle for the first time, she showed us a sneak peek of the dress on her phone and I think our jaws dropped in to our lattes.  It's a stunner for sure.  Bold and delicate at the same time.  Totally unique for a bride who wants some edge.

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"I got my dress from Kate Pankoke (of Project Runway fame!)  Her bridal salon is Elaya Vaughn.  I saw her designs online and I loved all of her dresses, but when I saw the dress I would eventually buy, it was OVER.  I knew that was exactly the vibe I was going for.  It is the most f*cking awesome dress I had ever seen!  She custom made my headpiece for my veil too."

I told my sis to get whatever she wanted for her bridesmaid dress, so she picked a long black dress to go with my wedding dress from Macy's."

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My flowers were white with green succulents and little pops of pink. My dress was champagne and black, badass!

May Floral Design based in Evanston did the wedding flowers. The owner, Lovely (yep that's her name!) worked with Sam & Kyle to make their vision come to life. Sam's only request was that she wanted succulents included since those are her 'jam'. For the most part she gave Lovely the freedom to do whatever!

Lovely of May Floral Design did a fantastic job!

How did you know HE was the ONE?

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I knew Kyle was the one when I felt peace. I can’t explain it, but all the shit that comes with a lot of relationships I had been in, just wasn’t there. It was peace, and love, and we just had so much fun together!
— Sam

How did you know SHE was THE ONE?

It was pretty early that I knew Sam was the was when I realized I could be myself with her. It was unlike any relationship I’ve ever been in, and how we were together and how Sam was with me and the way she loved me was not like anything I ever experienced before.
— Kyle

"Kyle got his suit from Macy's as well, I told him it had to be dark! I went with him to pick it out, it was a Calvin Klein suit."

The Proposal

"Kyle proposed on his 40th birthday! He didn't want to go out that night, he asked if we could stay in and if I could make one of his favorite dishes, spaghetti carbonara (I make the best! Half italian, you know...) I said are you sure you don't want to go out? He said, no he wanted to stay in and have a nice dinner at home with each other. So I make him dinner, and mind you, I am wearing no bra, gym shorts, and I have no makeup on. Definitely not the prettiest I've ever looked! So anyway, I make dinner and I serve everything at our kitchen table. While we're eating, I give him his present. It was a Bill Murray as a Saint candle. We have this thing about Bill Murray, we love him, and one of our favorite movies to watch together is Lost in Translation. From the beginning of our relationship, I always told Kyle, you are my Bill Murray! My wise, funny, and thoughtful older man! He loved his present, and it was right after that that he got down on one knee (while I looked like absolute shit!) and he said, "I don't want to go another year without you as my wife. You changed my life, I love you, will you marry you me?" I didn't even look at the ring, I was just looking at him, I was so shocked and happy! I said, 'Oh my god, yes!' and then we hugged and kissed, and THEN I looked at the ring, and I was like HOLY SHIT! It was so amazing and so beautiful! I literally was not expecting a proposal on HIS birthday (cause if I was, I would have dolled myself up a bit) but it was one of the best nights of my life and I wouldn't change a thing. The rest of the night, we ate, drank and had our own amazing dance party with our dogs!"

"Steve Quick custom made both my rings. They were recommended by a friend of mine. We worked with Peggy and she was amaze. Kyle used his grandpa's wedding band (grandpa on his dad's side) His grandparents were married 53 years. He thought looking down on his hand everyday and seeing his grandpa's ring was a good reminder of what marriage can and should be. He was a great man who always provided a great example for Kyle."

Ok, did that not just make your heart skip a beat?!  So sweet!

...because you have to smell good too!


The Ceremony & The Reception

Both the ceremony and reception were at the Firehouse Chicago. Sam and Kyle picked it because it was very historic, intimate and beautiful...and very CHICAGO!

Just another personal quirky touch - a cuff link of Larry David.

During our consultation we realized that we wouldn't have much daylight left after the ceremony, to do pictures of Kyle and Sam. We all agreed a "FIRST LOOK" might be beneficial for the flow of the day. Jamie and I usually don't care if couples do a first look and we certainly don't try talking our couples into it, but sometimes due to the season or time of ceremony it is a great alternative and should be considered. We think it's a great way to have an intimate moment and get more pictures of our bride and groom.

We think Kyle was pretty speechless when he saw Sam for the first time...the dress and those shoes!

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It was our first time shooting a wedding at the Firehouse Chicago. It's very unique and full of character. Visit their website for more info!

Alan Ashbeck, Sam's cousin and all around badass (according to Sam), officiated the wedding. His official title is "Dudeist Priest - Ordained Minister of the Church of the Latter-Day Dude"...yes that is a real thing and their marriage was legal!

Each wrote their own vows which had everyone tearing up one second and laughing out loud the next. (Especially references to the Big Lebowski - you just had to be there!)

I’ve always liked you, for like 10 years since we started working together. I was like, who’s the cool dude down the hall with the Eddie Vedder hair that doesn’t say much but always looks at my boobs.
— Quote from Sam's vows


The Music

Toast and Jam did the music, Leslie was the DJ. The music kept everyone's feet moving as well and as promised, the night was "chicken dance free".


Mouth-Watering Menu

This outstanding menu gets a category all it's own!  Sam and Kyle certainly knew how to keep their guests happy.

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"One of my all time favorite vendors was our caterer, Feast and Imbibe, based out of Evanston. It is run by a husband and wife duo, Heather Bublick and D'Andre Carter (who are the coolest people you will ever meet!). The food literally was the best food ever!  People are still texting and calling me to talk about how fucking amazing the food was!  The menu was inspired by my Italian roots and Kyle's meat and potatoes Midwest roots. I told them I had to have pasta, and to double the servings of it, since me and my family are HUGE pasta fans.  Menu was, Apps: Tuna Tartare served in a push pop with wasabi, Chicken and Waffle bites, Pulled Pork Cigars with sesame ash, and Mini Tacos w/ Mini Patron Margaritas.  Dinner was mixed green salad with apple walnut prosciutto, braised short rib with red wine au jus, linguine pasta with tomato, garlic and fennel, roasted potatoes with herbs and lemon, braised brussel sprouts and pan roasted asparagus."

"Late night snacks: I said I wanted to do a homemade White Castle since every time I'm drunk and even when I'm not, that is what I eat!  So Feast and Imbibe did their own version.  It was American Wagyu beef good!  We also had Mini Chicago Hot Dogs (hot dogs are like my favorite food ketchup!!!!) and Mac and Cheese bites."  

"We also had a Bloody Mary bar with cheese and charcuterie board.  Kyle is a big scotch drinker so we also had a scotch bar for him and a Star Wars themed dessert table!  It had an interactive smores bar, assorted truffles (some shaped like the death star), mini cupcakes, Princess Leia and Yoda shortbread cookies, and Star Wars Pez!  We also had star wars cake pops."


The Bridal Party

"My younger sister Kala Anderson was my maid of honor, she's my best friend in the whole world and I couldn't imagine my life without her! My nephew/godson Luke Anderson was my escort down the aisle and the ring bearer. I love him so much and I literally think I gave birth to him and I tell everyone that too (much to the dismay of my sis)!"

"Kyle's brother, Eric Longnecker, was his best man.  My brother in law, (Kala's husband) Alan Anderson, was also a groomsman.  My sister and I grew up with him, I have known him since I was like 6."

"Also, can't forget the most important gal in the bridal party, my 9 year old puggle Chloe! (AKA Coco Puff)"

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Favors & Gift Ideas

"We got donut holes from Glazed and Infused as our wedding favors.""

"For Kala's gift, I got us massages the morning of the wedding, and I also got us brunch and bloody's from Perennial Virant that morning. I also paid for her hair and makeup.  Kyle gave his groomsmen flasks with some snarky engravings, homemade beef jerky from Paulina Meat Market (YUM) and a small batch whiskey from St. Paul, Minnesota (Kyle is from Minneapolis!)"

Vendor Recap:


Priceless Advice from the Bride

Were there any challenges planning your wedding?:  "We got engaged in May of 2015. We didn't really start to think about planning until end of December 2015. I was starting a Masters program at DePaul in January 2016, and I didn't want to be planning a wedding the whole time while in grad school, so we were like, well let's just get this over with we decided to get married on my spring break. So our wedding was planned in probably three months. It was kinda hard to plan it while in school and we also moved during that time, but we got through it! It was stressful, since I had finals the week of our wedding, but it all worked out! And I got all A's in my 1st quarter :)"

What piece of advice would you pass on to future brides and grooms?:  "Elope! Haha. But really, weddings are SO about your guests and making them happy, you have to remember to take time out and really just enjoy each other because you are being pulled in so many different directions, it's easy to lose sight of why you are there in the first place. Kyle and I made sure we had a moment, just us two, together right after the ceremony. We had a drink together and just talked, it was nice to have that moment of just us, amidst all the craziness. We also used that opportunity of alone time to consummate our marriage. (totally kidding)"

What made you choose Carmen & Jamie as your wedding photographers?:  "Carmen and Jamie were recommended by my super stylish friend Jenna Zielbauer, who used them for a couple different things. I told Jenna I wanted awesome photogs who would take fashion-y pictures...none of that lame posed 80's wedding shit for me!"

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Final Words from Sam

I want to dedicate the post to the people in my family who couldn’t be at my wedding since they have passed away. My godmother Aunt Donna, all my grandparents, especially my grandma Shirley Tamburo. She was my favorite person ever and we were extremely close... she would have loved to have been at my wedding (she would have went crazy over the food, especially the pasta and the hot dogs!) but I know she was looking down on us!

One of the most memorable moments of Sam & Kyle's wedding was their speedy entrance on the fireman's pole...again you just had to be!

Jamie and I were so excited about their wedding and it will go down in history!

Sam & Kyle - Thank you for letting us be part of it! Keep in touch and best wishes for the future!